A Review by Melissa Compton.
The Gin to my Tonic event kicked off with a swing a Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena. It may be that everything was covered in black cotton or the outstanding mood music being provided by Teresa de Roberto’s vocal performance in the bar, but it was clear this was no ordinary event.
The main floor was dedicated to exhibition stands with over 40 exhibitors in attendance, with a catering section in the middle with plenty of seating at round tables. The bars and stages as well as the Connoisseurs Lounge which was sponsored by Schweppes framed the room. The atmosphere was relaxed with a crowd wandering around enjoying glasses of gin and tonic and sampling free samples.
There was a programme of classes with a practical class on how to mix the perfect gin and tonic which was very popular with plenty of observers in addition to participants. The classes with companies such as Brentingby Gin and The Gower Gin Company were highly informative, and presenters were friendly, lively and engaging. Although at times during presentations the live music raised in volume to clash with the presentation and was very distracting. It was nice to see both Emma and Paul assisting at presentations giving the event a more personalized feel and demonstrated a hands-on approach.
With Gin companies from all over the United Kingdom it was nice to see that Wales was so well represented, but even better it was great to see the Cardiff based distillery Infusion 73. Run by husband and wife team Paul and Julie they produce two flavours: St Clement which is citrus based with an elderflower infusion and is mild and pleasant: what you could call easy drinking gin you could go through a bottle of this quickly on a relaxing Sunday afternoon. The second flavour is called Jin Caerdydd with natural flavours from Cardiff such as hedgerow elderflower, and lime flower, but it is the infusion of heather which makes this flavour stand out from the crowd.
The Gower Gin Company were debuting a flavour made in association with The Gin to my Tonic show for this event called Apple and Elderflower which was quite sharp in taste in comparison to their GWR: Rhosili which although milder in taste is higher in alcohol content. Sian and Andrew Brooks run the company located in Port Eynon, Gower, the company produce gin based on foraged wild botanicals in the local area such as the wild fennel in their original flavour, the company also stressed the importance of using zest in their gin such as the use of lime in their GWR: Rhosili. In a presentation on pushing the boundaries of botanicals Andrew Brooks stated there are now a whooping 19 welsh gin distilleries, this is rather impressive and shows the strength of the gin industry within Wales.
Finally: they’re not welsh like the other two companies but, based in Melton Mowbray Brentingby Gin are an impressive company and their black bottle gin has a seriously spicy kick, it burns as it goes down kind of like a good bourbon. This company is less than a year old, but they are crafting some amazing flavours and are certainly making an impact at this event. The distiller for Brentingby Gin has worked with Gin Legend Master Distiller Tom Nichol and is originally from South Africa this heritage influences the black bottle gin and the company produce four flavours of gin, with copper and the heart of their distillery the copper bottle is stunning.
The Gin to my Tonic is a relaxing and unique way to experience all the variety gin has to offer in terms of flavour. Judging by the smiles, giggles on the way out it would seem the crowd had great fun in discovering all The Gin to my Tonic show had to offer.